Plot: An inside look at modern organized crime in Naples.
Review: GOMORRAH is a film many expected to be a shoe-in for best foreign film at the Oscars this year- but despite major success at both the Cannes & Toronto Film festivals, the film failed to get a nomination.
After watching the film myself, Im not at all surprised that it was overlooked. GOMORRAH is probably a little too raw and real for the Academy, which seems to prefer somewhat more mainstream foreign films. GOMORRAH is many things, but mainstream it definitely is not. While it was a huge financial hit in Italy, its probably way too grim to ever make much of an impact in North America- which is a shame, as its a very interesting film.
Its about the Comorra, which (according to wikipedia) is a mafia-like organization operating out of Naples, and is the oldest organized crime organization operating in Italy. According the film, this organization has their hands in everything, including arms dealing, toxic waste disposal, drugs, and even haute couture fashion.
We get to see the organization through the eyes of six low level employees of the organization- including a mob middle-man, a haute couture tailor, a graduate working on the corporate end of things, a couple of murderous thugs that fancy themselves real life Tony Montanas, and most devastatingly- a thirteen year old grocery delivery boy. In one of the more harrowing scenes, the boy is initiated into the gang by being shot through a bullet proof vest.
Other than the similarly themed CITY OF GOD, GOMORRAH is one of the few crime films Ive seen recently that doesnt try to somewhat glamorize the gangster lifestyle. Everything is portrayed in a realistic and seemingly authentic way- and theres no Guy Ritchie style, hipster gangster comedy on display. Its done in very somber, documentary-like, fly on the wall fashion, and also boasts a well constructed soundtrack, with well chosen tracks, including some new work by Massive Attack.
My only caveat with GOMORRAH, is that at the pacing is somewhat, shall we say deliberate, which is probably in keeping with the cinema verité style employed to tell the story. At times my mind wandered somewhat throughout the film, and at 135 minutes, its at least twenty minutes too long, and could have used some trimming to make it a little more palatable. Still, its a film well worth seeing, and one I wholeheartedly recommend checking out.
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